“Almost Love” is an ensemble comedy from filmmaker Mike Doyle. It follows the life of a gay couple Marklin (Augustus Prew) and Adam (Scott Evans) who have reached a make or break crossroads in their relationship and the friends they interact with.
Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) is Adam’s best friend and entering marital breakdown with her husband of 15 years Damon (Chaz Lemar Shepard.) Cammy (the charming Michelle Buteau,) another friend of the couple, questions her judgement and social motivations when she begins seeing a homeless man (Colin Donnel;) and there’s Haley (Zoe Chao) a teacher who is experiencing conflicted feelings about her not quite 18-year-old student Scott James (Christopher Gray.)
Marklin and Adam have been together for 5 years, and are both successful in their respective careers; but, Adam, working as the ghostwriter version of a painter for celebrity artist Rebella (Patricia Clarkson) has taken a toll on his emotional health and self-esteem, whereas Marklin is more satisfied professionally as a fashion designer and blogger.
The distinct differences in their professional lives start to spill over into personal and they begin to question whether or not their relationship can last through the down cycle.
Though the centerpieces of the film are Marklin and Adam I found the context to be less hyper-focused on their sexuality so much as it was about the reality of relationships, how they ebb and flow, and how we can choose whether or not we survive in them through communication and patience. The film has all the inner workings of a classic rom-com, it feels a bit like “Love Actually” (2003) but it just never turns out to be as sweet.
Making the choice to not focus the plot around Marklin and Adam exclusively gave the film an unfortunate feel of a half-finished story. I think excising the use of the interjecting storylines would have been preferential and would not have left the audience with so many question marks and underdeveloped sub-plots, though I do admire the filmmakers’ risk and dedication.
The stand outs of this piece for me were Scott Evans as Adam; he delivered a fine performance and really understood how to craft the perfect balance of emotional depth and light-hearted fun, and Michelle Buteau as Cammy who provided comic relief and had wonderful synchronicity and chemistry with everyone she shared the screen with.
“Almost Love” is an almost there movie for me, it is basically the meat without the bones; with a few more brushstrokes it could have been something truly unique, but it ultimately felt like one of Rebella’s paintings, and left me longing for a blank canvas.
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